By George Overhill

23rd Jan, 2023 | 9:30pm

Leeds United are late-window alternative for Nicolo Zaniolo as Tottenham plan flounders

Leeds United will be “plan B” for Nicolo Zaniolo in the final days of the January transfer window if Tottenham fail to secure a deal, Alfredo Pedulla reports.

The Roma talent has asked to leave the Stadio Olympico, and according to la Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Pedulla he now “must somehow leave” by 31 January.

Spurs have been in talks for the 23-year-old but their preference for a loan move with an option to buy has been deemed unacceptable [Gazzetta, 20 January] when Jose Mourinho’s side are looking for £35million [Sky Sports, 20 January].

While there is reportedly still a chance that Tottenham come up with an offer that satisfies the Roma conditions, Pedulla reports on his website (22 January): “The others from the Premier League (Leeds, West Ham) are plan B in the last few days if we don’t proceed with Tottenham.”

AC Milan remain interested also, but a move to England appears to be the priority for the Italian international.

Outside chance

Zaniolo doesn’t look like the player that the Whites need to add at this point so if the only way a deal can be reached is if a large fee is attached then that money would surely be better spent on a midfielder like Azzedine Ounahi.

The misfiring attack against Brentford on Sunday (22 January) notwithstanding, Jesse Marsch has a pretty strong set of options going forward now, although he could do with Brenden Aaronson and Jack Harrison returning to the levels they were hitting earlier in the season.

With Luis Sinisterra and Crysencio Summerville returning to the fray and club-record signing Georginio Rutter already pushing Joe Gelhardt towards a loan exit, it is difficult to see how Zaniolo could be added without one of these options losing out.

There does appear to have been an uplift in spending and ambition of late, with the 49ers influence becoming all the more clear.

So, should Zaniolo have been identified as a real game-changer, perhaps the incoming administration would countenance a loan with an obligation for the summer.

It has be seen as unlikely, with both Tottenham and West Ham to get past and a crowded house at his positions currently around Thorp Arch.

Yet prior to this window opening few would have actually believed that the club would land a solid defensive upgrade in Max Wober and spend a record fee on a forward, so until deadline day passes never say never.

In other Leeds United news, Sunday developments might have left a club stalwart with a one-game audition to save his Whites career.